Marathon: Millions of Britons running for charity – new research

22 April 2013

An estimated five million Britons have run for charity in the past year, raising an average of £280 each, according to new research marking this year’s London Marathon - the world's biggest fundraising event.

Nearly three quarters (73%) of Britain's growing band of fun runners raised money for a cause in the last twelve months, according to the poll for the Charities Aid Foundation, which promotes charitable giving and provides financial services and social finance to not-for-profit organisations.

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The survey found that as many as one in seven (14%) people have taken part in a fun run in their lifetime and nearly one in four (23%) people would like to run to raise money one day. 

Overall, although only 3% of the population have ever taken part in a full marathon, more than one in 10 people (11%) have pounded the streets in a fun run, 5km, 10km or half-marathon road race.

ComRes interviewed 2,022 British adults in the online survey commissioned by the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF).

Running for charity has become hugely popular in recent years, with thousands of people taking part in events from major marathons or half marathons to fundraisers such as the annual Race for Life.

The survey found that:

  • People in the North East are most likely to run for charity, where 19% have run before - compared to the 14% average.
  • Women are more likely to join fun runs than men, 16% having taken part in a run compared to 13% of men.
  • Men are more likely to raise substantial amounts of money when they run; 19% of men who ran raised more than £500 in the last year compared to just 5% of running women.

The survey also highlighted the growing trend for charity runs over the years, evidenced by participation rates across the age groups. Just 5% of over 65s have run for charity in their lifetime, compared to 23% of 25-34 year olds.

John Low, Chief Executive of the Charities Aid Foundation, said: “It’s fantastic that so many people are getting involved in running events up and down the country to raise money for their favourite causes.

“At a time when one in six charities are on the brink of closure, it’s never been more important for everyone to do what they can to back Britain’s charities.

“Running can get you fit and give you a sense of wellbeing, but few things are as rewarding as supporting a cause you really care about."

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